Scientists at Tohoku University in Japan have reported in journal Advanced Materials Technologies on the development of a contact lens that moisturizes the eye using tears in a reservoir behind the lower eyelid.
The eye can dry up when covered with a contact lens, often leading to serious cases of dry eye syndrome that can result in corneal wounds and inflammation of the eye. To overcome this, these Japanese researchers have created a contact lens made from a hydrogel that can carry an electric charge across its surface. By relying on a process called electroosmotic flow, the electric current pushes the tears up over the contact lens, even on its rear side that contacts with the eye.
This automatic moisturizing process, which may make blinking unnecessary, if you will, can go on as long as there’s current across the lens. This is supplied by tiny biocompatible batteries (Mg/O2 battery and fructose/O2 enzymatic battery), at least in the first prototype of this lens.
The researchers say that they can create different lens compositions that have different charge densities, and therefore different tear flow rates.
So far, this project is still at the lab stage, but the researchers believe that soon we may see active contacts that can be worn for extended periods without getting a dry eye.
Study in Advanced Materials Technologies: Self‐Moisturizing Smart Contact Lens Employing Electroosmosis
Via: Tohoku University